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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 ANKARA 004734

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EUR/SE, EUR/PD, NEA/PD, DRL
JCS PASS J-5/CDR S. WRIGHT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 10, 2005


THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
--------------------------------------------- --

HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
US Generals Abizaid, Jones to Visit Ankara - Milliyet
Ereli: US Delegation's Travel to North Cyprus Not against
the Law - Aksam
Diyarbakir on Security Alert for Erdogan's Visit - Sabah
Racist Attack in Berlin: 8 Killed, Including 4 Children -
Aksam
Chirac Assures Papadhopoulos: Turkey Will Recognize Nicosia
- Hurriyet
Rehn: EU Entry Talks with Turkey Will Kick Off October 3 -
Milliyet
Iran Launches Military Operation against Kurdish Militants -
Sabah

OPINION MAKERS
Bryza: Turkey Already Has Troops in Iraq - Radikal
A Second US Delegation in Turkish Cyprus - Yeni Safak
Erdogan to Hold Terror Summit with Turkish Intellectuals
Today - Cumhuriyet
Diyarbakir Goes on `Emergency Rule' Ahead of Erdogan Visit -
Cumhuriyet
US to Reinforce Troops in Iraq in October - Yeni Safak
A Constitution to Divide Iraq - Cumhuriyet
Racists Set Fire in Berlin Muslim Neighborhood, 8 Killed -
Yeni Safak
Rumsfeld Blames Iran for Allowing Arms Transfer to Iraq -
Cumhuriyet
US Warns Tehran against Violating Minority Groups' Rights -
Cumhuriyet
Britain to Set Up `Terror Courts' - Yeni Safak
Famine Threatens North Korea - Cumhuriyet


BRIEFING

DAS Bryza on PKK, Iraq: CENTCOM Commander General John
Abizaid and the US military commander in Europe, Marine
General James Jones will soon visit Ankara to discuss
military measures for combating PKK terrorists in northern
Iraq, papers report, quoting remarks by DAS Matt Bryza to
VOA Radio Tuesday. Bryza said that the US, Turkey and Iraq
had agreed at a three-party security summit in Washington
last weekend to enhance cooperation against the terrorist
PKK threat in northern Iraq. Bryza added that the security
talks in Washington had focused on the monitoring,
identification and capturing of the PKK militants. Bryza
said that new steps were needed to strengthen the Iraqi
democracy and judiciary instead of making hasty moves
against the PKK. `Iraq has to solve its own problems before
extending support to its neighbors,' he stressed. In
response to a question about a possible Turkish military hot
pursuit against the PKK militants in Iraq, Bryza said that
Turkey already had 1,500 troops in northern Iraq. `I don't
understand what the Turkish side means by hot pursuit,'
Bryza said. Bryza noted that the next three-party security
talks will be held in October.

US Promises to Meet Turkish Expectations on the PKK: The
mass appeal/sensationalist "Aksam" Ankara bureau chief
Ismail Kucukkaya claims in a news commentary today that the
United States was preparing to take measures to cut
financial flows to the PKK from Europe. A high-level source
from the US Embassy in Ankara noted the capture of Abdullah
Ocalan, stressing that only the United States supported
Turkey's struggle against terror, says the "Aksam" report.
The US official said that they knew Turkey's sensitivities
on the issue, that they had forgotten the March 1 crisis,
and that they wanted to make a fresh start with Turkey. The
US needs Turkey, and Turkey has a strategic partnership with
the US, the official emphasized, adding that the US would
take no steps in the region without consulting Turkey. The
official said that US Embassy Charge d'Affaires Nancy
McEldowney told PM Erdogan at a meeting on Monday that the
US was making `serious preparations' that cannot be shared
with the public for the time being with regard to the PKK
issue. `We are facing serious hardships in Iraq. Our
troops get killed there. As a country struggling with
terror, we are aware of your expectations and we will meet
them,' "Aksam" quotes the US official as saying.

Grossman Interview with "Milliyet": The following is a
summary of the Grossman remarks in an interview carried
today in "Milliyet."

`I don't agree with the US observers who think that Turkey
has not displayed a high profile in the struggle against
global terror and radical Islam after September 11. Turkey
has taken the ISAF command in Afghanistan twice. Not only
the Turkish military work against terror, but the speech
delivered by FM Gul against violence and extremist views in
Tehran confirms a political attitude as well.'

`It will be the Turks who decide on how they will live. For
us, it is important that a secular democracy is working in
Turkey. The greatest of all modernist experiments, whether
a country with a Muslim majority can also be democratic and
secular, continues in Turkey. My response to that question
will be `yes.' I think that the greatest Turkish
contribution to global civilization will be to show that
Turkey can make it.'

`I don't see a possibility that the regime in Turkey will
change in the direction of an Islamic state. However, the
final decision on this issue will be determined by the
Turkish nation. Many nations around the world are seeking a
balance between secularism and piety. We are a secular
nation as well, but religion has a place in our political
life, which it doesn't have in Turkey. This doesn't make us
better or worse, more secular or less; it just makes us
American.'

`The vision that can serve as an alternate to the AK Party
vision in Turkey has presented a fractured picture thus far.
Those who will have to create such an alternate vision are
wasting time by fighting each other instead of offering a
positive vision. I have always thought that instead of
being a party to the national debate on Turkey's future,
other political parties are wasting lots of time by fighting
among themselves or with each other.'

`The Americans want strong democratic institutions in
Turkey, but with which political parties and leaders depends
on the Turks. The situation that makes the AK Party like a
single party is something that was brought about by voters.
Therefore, we naturally do not question it.'

`PM Erdogan's choice to pursue a full membership in the EU,
putting among his priorities establishment of a good
relationship with the US, inviting the people in the north
of Cyprus to vote for the Annan Plan, and following a
successful economic program, were positive steps. It was
also positive that when he met with President Bush during
his Washington visit, Erdogan spoke in favor of Turkey-US
ties and stressed that the two countries have to become
strategic partners. With regard to Turkey's strategic
interests, PM Erdogan is following foreign policy lines
based on healthy judgments. Those lines are EU membership,
a close relationship with the US, and relations with
Israel.'

`For long years, we have said that the solution to Turkey's
problems required more democracy, not less. One day, that
democracy brought Mr. Erbakan to power. I decided that the
Turkish voters' decision should be respected and worked to
tell Mr. Erbakan the importance of US-Turkey ties.'

`It's not true that the US gave direct or indirect support
to the military or the bureaucracy for toppling Erbakan
during the February 28 process in Turkey. We are happy to
see that today Turkey is a more democratic nation compared
to those days.'

`Turkey's democratic evolution has changed the military a
great deal. The Turkish government's proposal to support
the Annan Plan in Cyprus was a significant sign of the
evolution in civilian-military relations in Turkey.'

`During my first assignment in Turkey in 1989, there were
only two TV channels. Today, there are dozens. Very few
Turks used to go abroad then, and few companies had invested
in Turkey. In 1989, you could not even spell the word
`Kurdish.' It is not a that remote past.'

`There are still lots of things to do for Turkish democracy.
There is still the issue of protecting human rights. The
protection of journalists and religious freedoms are also
serious issues. Halki Seminary is a specific example of the
continuing challenge for democracy Turkey.'

US Congressional Staffers in Turkish Cyprus: On Tuesday, a
seven-member delegation of US Congressional staffers met
with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in Lefkosa. No
public statements were made after the meeting. The group
later called on `TRNC Foreign Minister' Serdar Denktas. `It
is important that the Americans see what is going on in
Cyprus,' Denktas said after the meeting. The Americans will
meet leaders of political parties and NGOs before leaving
the `TRNC' on August 14.

Cicek on Government-Military Ties, Terrorism: Justice
Minister and Government Spokesman Cemil Cicek said that
there is no difference of opinion between the Turkish
government and the military with regard to combating
terrorism. Cicek told the all-news channel NTV Tuesday that
if necessary, the government will sort out the shortcomings
in existing laws to counter terrorism. Cicek was speaking
in response to TGS Chief General Ozkok's statement that the
military's authority on security issues had been crippled by
regulatory changes. Cicek said that the Turkish government
and the military are on the same side in fighting terrorism,
and that there is no need to hold a special security summit.
Cicek also said that Turkey is now working to cut the
financial support for terrorism. `We expect the EU to
cooperate on this issue rather than simply sending
condolences to Turkey,' Cicek stressed.

Erdogan to Visit Diyarbakir: Papers expect Prime Minister
Tayyip Erdogan to issue a call for unity during his visit to
Diyarbakir on Friday. Dailies report that people in the
region say that new dams, hospitals, and schools are
desperately needed to help improve the situation. On
Wednesday, the PM will discuss the southeast with a group of
Turkish intellectuals who earlier called on the PKK to lay
down its arms. The intellectuals will ask Erdogan to lower
the 10 percent election threshold to 5 percent, improve ties
with municipalities controlled by pro-Kurdish DEHAP, declare
an amnesty for those who have not been involved in terrorist
actions, speed up the return of displaced people to their
villages, and develop economic, political, and cultural
projects to sort out the problems in southeast. The
activists will also advise Erdogan to examine the cases of
the IRA and ETA. The EU expects efforts by the Erdogan
Government to achieve a breakthrough in region, according to
"Yeni Safak."

AKP MP Report on Southeast Turkey: AKP lawmaker Mahfuz
Guler said in a report to Prime Minister Erdogan that
declaring a state of emergency in the southeastern provinces
of Tunceli, Diyarbakir, and Bingol would be a `big mistake,'
"Hurriyet" reports. `If emergency rule is declared, the
region will be isolated from the world and mystery killings
will be seen again,' the Guler report said. It noted that
30 economic packages released thus far have yielded no
results, and that there are still thousands of unemployed
youth in the region. Despite lucrative incentives offered
by the government, businessmen are reluctant to invest in
the southeast, according to the report. The report claimed
that the PKK is trying to block Turkey's EU entry by
provoking Turkey through terrorist attacks to declare
emergency rule on the eve of October 3. The report stressed
that paving more roads in the southeast would help to
prevent PKK landmine attacks. It also claimed that people
in the region are happy with moves for more democratization
and human rights, and added that support for the PKK has
declined.

Trial of Turkish Academic in Yerevan: Thirteen Turkish
intellectuals and academics have sent a letter to Armenian
President Robert Kocharian to demand the release of Turkish
researcher Yektan Turkyylmaz, who was detained in Yerevan
last month on charges of attempting to smuggle antique books
out of the country. The first hearing for Turkyilmaz, a
Turkish national of Kurdish extraction, will be held on
Friday. He is facing between four and eight years in
prison. The letter said that Turkyilmaz, a doctoral student
at Duke University in the US, was among the few Turkish
academics who maintained an impartial stand with regard to
the `events of 1915.' The Turkish Embassy in Tbilisi has
also asked for the release of Turkyilmaz, saying that he
bought the books from a second-hand book dealer in Yerevan.
Human rights activists and officials from the US Embassy in
Yerevan attended the opening session of the Turkyilmaz trial
on Tuesday. More than 200 academics in the United States,
Turkey, and Armenia have signed an open letter to President
Robert Kocharian, calling for his release. Bob Dole, a
former pro-Armenian member of the US Senate, wrote to
Kocharian last week, arguing that detaining Turkyilmaz on
grounds `as dubious as these' called into question Armenia's
commitment to democracy. The Armenian Helsinki Committee
said that Turkyilmaz is among the few Turkish historians who
question Ankara's official line on the 1915-17 mass killings
and deportations of Armenians by Ottoman forces.

Protest March for Closure of Incirlik Airbase: "Cumhuriyet"
reports that several democratic organizations and NGOs will
hold a march from Istanbul to Incirlik Airbase in Turkey's
southern province of Adana from August 26-28. The groups
said in a statement Tuesday that they will demand the
closure of Incirlik Airbase, a symbol of `collaboration'
between the Turkish military and US policies.

Turkish Police Tip Off Israel on Terror Threat in Turkey:
Dailies report Israel's anti-terror chief Danny Arditi as
saying that Israel has warned its nationals against
traveling to Turkey after receiving warnings from the
Turkish police that al-Qaida affiliated militants would
attack resorts densely populated by foreign visitors. Over
the weekend, the Israeli government rerouted a total of six
Israeli cruise liners with thousands of passengers on board
away from Turkey's Mediterranean coast to northern Cyprus,
citing `grave' security threats. Meanwhile, Turkish police
captured 10 terror suspects from a religious group and
seized C-4 explosives and a zodiac boat during security
operations in Antalya last week. Papers say the suspects
are the members of the "Selam" wing of the Hizbullah
organization. Israeli press reported over the weekend that
the cruise liners could be attacked by small boats packed
with explosives, similar to the attack against the USS Cole
in Yemen in 2000.

Police Capture Terror Suspects: Istanbul Police Chief
Celalettin Cerrah said on Tuesday that the two men killed by
a premature blast during the manufacturing of a bomb in the
Zeytinburnu district of Istanbul last weekend were militants
of the PKK. Cerrah also said that four suspected PKK
militants had been detained in connection with a bombing
attack on July 23 outside a cafe in Istanbul in which a
waiter and a Dutch tourist were injured. Cerrah added that
police seized 1.8 kg of plastic explosives, detonators and
electronic circuits used in bomb making at the suspects'
homes.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq/Terrorism

"The Reality about the New Iraq"
Sami Kohen observed in the mass appeal "Milliyet" (8/10):
"While the constitution process is underway in Iraq, all
indicators suggest that Iraq is eventually going to be both
federal and Islamic. Iraq is currently undergoing a complex
and bloody transition period. Once that is over, there will
be more clear clues to the permanent political order in
Iraq. . The new constitution apparently does not foresee a
`united' and `secular' state system for the future of Iraq.
It seems that to reach a consensus among the contentious
groups, a federal and religiously fundamentalist plan will
have to be adopted. . Turkey should take into account the
new trends and emerging realities as part of Iraq's
rebuilding process. In principle, Ankara does not object to
Iraq having a federal system. Keeping Iraq's territorial
integrity intact -- more specifically, keeping the de-facto
Kurdistan in northern Iraq as part of a unified Iraq -- is
the most important point for Turkey. Therefore, a
federation that embraces all Iraqi groups should receive
Turkey's support as well. . Turkey should facilitate a close
dialogue with Iraqi officials and leading groups to support
the country's territorial integrity and reduce conflict
between the communities. The new realities in Iraq require
Turkey to assume an active role in the rebuilding of the
country."

"The Impact of Northern Iraq on Turkey's Southeast"
Erdal Safak commented in the mass appeal "Sabah" (8/10):
"Recent developments in northern Iraq are a direct concern
for Turkey, and have a large impact on the problems in
Turkey's southeast region. Fighting against PKK terrorism
requires more than security measures, which are already
being implemented. There needs to be a thorough discussion
and real solutions to the problems faced by people in the
southeast. . As one Turkish columnist rightly pointed out,
people in the southeast have become alienated due to
developments in Iraq that favor of Kurds, including the
election of a Kurdish president of the country and the
increasingly autonomous status of the Kurdish region.
Turkey can only address these developments in northern Iraq
by settling its problem in the southeast. Otherwise the
people in this region will feel resentment while watching
the privileges gained by their brethren on the other side of
the border."

"EU Efforts on Counterterrorism Insufficient"
Zafer Atay commented in the economic-political "Dunya"
(8/10): "It seems that the ongoing debate among EU
countries is between those who have witnessed their own
terrorist activity and the others who think the terrorists
will never attack their country. The countries determined
to fight terrorism are taking their own action without
consultation with the EU. France is a good example of this.
Italy also recently approved a new anti-terrorism law.
According to the new law, governors will have the authority
to deport people who shelter terrorists. It will be
interesting to see if the UK will start forcing certain
communities to leave the country in the event of more terror
attacks in the country. This could be similar to the
Ottoman deportations of Armenians in 1915 or US deportations
of Japanese in 1941. I am not suggesting that these will
necessarily happen. I am just thinking out loud. . On the
other hand, Turkey should not expect support from the EU in
countering terrorism. PM Erdogan mentioned a few days ago
that in one of the Scandinavian countries there is a
political party which that financial support to terrorists.
You do not need to be a fortune teller to know that he is
talking about Sweden, Denmark, or Norway. Norway is not the
member of the EU. But terrorist organizations in Sweden and
Denmark carry out their activities freely. The PKK has been
sheltered in these countries, and has opened cultural
offices there. Belgium still refuses to extradite the
murderer terrorist Fehriye Erdal to Turkey, with the lame
excuse that she did not use an automatic weapon in her
crime. Germany ignores Spain's EU arrest warrant. The UK
refuses to deport terrorists to Spain and France. It is
hard to know for sure, but it looks like some EU countries
will not make any effort until they have been attacked
directly by the terrorists."

MCELDOWNEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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